Cummings and Hackel receive Outstanding Graduate Student Award

MS/LIS students Michael Cummings and Josh Hackel have been selected as recipients of the 2019-2020 Outstanding Graduate Student Award from the University Library at the University of Illinois. 

Michael Cummings
Michael Cummings (Photo by Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College)

Cummings works in the Scholarly Commons, providing service at the Scholarly Commons front desk and Main Library Information desk, updating web pages and maintaining social media, and providing GIS (Geographic Information Systems) support. His nominator Karen Hogenboom, head of Scholarly Commons, shared, "Michael has gone above and beyond by providing very substantive consultations and workshops about GIS and filling a gap in one of our most popular services. He has conducted 37 GIS consultations this academic year so far. Michael also has gradually taken on all of our GIS workshops, starting with co-teaching the introduction to GIS during his first semester. Since then he has started teaching the more technical GIS for Research workshop. I need to make an effort sometimes to remember that Michael is not yet a professional librarian. I have seen him come through every time I have given him a GIS problem that no one else can solve, motivated by one of the strongest service ethics I have ever seen in a graduate assistant."

Joshua Hackel
Josh Hackel

Hackel holds two positions at the Library. At Grainger Engineering Library, Joshua covers a wide variety of responsibilities, including serving as a duty officer with supervisory responsibilities, providing reference and instruction, and supporting Virtual Reality (VR) technologies in the IDEA lab. His co-nominator, Megan Johnson, library specialist, shared, "We need GAs with an outstanding work ethic, a calm and confident nature, and the ability to oversee the work of the student assistants. In these regards, Josh excels. Josh has always been a calming source of authority in the building when issues arise and often steps in to lend a hand whenever we need it. When we fell short on staff during fall finals in 2019, it was Josh who jumped in to take two overnight shifts to make sure we were covered. When Covid19 caused the shutdown of campus, Josh was the first to volunteer to interact with patrons to help them get the research materials they needed to finish the school year. When he's on the schedule, we know Josh will take excellent care of the building and all its occupants."

Hackel also works in Records and Management Services on a three-year grant project. His co-nominator, Joanne Kaczmarek, associate professor and archivist for electronic records, shared, "Josh's principal responsibilities have focused on ensuring the successful completion of a grant working with the email from the Governor’s office of Illinois. Josh showed an interest in learning all that he could from our project. He frequently volunteered for extra tasks such as working directly with the software used to analyze the email or helping scope out the research approaches of future users of the email collection. Josh was invaluable on trips to Springfield when introducing the staff of the State Archives to the interface that will eventually be used to access the email. Josh has been methodical in all the tasks he has undertaken, be it troubleshooting an issue with a data upload or explaining the hardware and software requirements needed to support future researchers at the State Archives. On all accounts, Josh is thoughtful, thorough, and accommodating, making sure we have the best possible outcomes for this research project."

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